Why communications is the key to effective recognition

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Reward Gateway

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written on January 10, 2018

Knowing how to use communications to recognise employees feeds into company culture and makes for a loyal and engaged workforce that stays for the long haul.

Today’s workforce has changed, and the transformation is set to continue with the growth of the millennial generation, which McCrindle predicts will comprise 42 per cent of the overall workforce in Australia by 2020. But even though the rate of millennials in the workplace is growing, the average length of tenure is meagre.

Consider this: millennials tend to stay in a job for an average of two years, which is less than half of the average worker’s stay of nearly 4.5 years. And why are millennials leaving after such a short period? It boils down to organisations failing to give this generation what they’re looking for, which is:

  • working for a company that has a clear purpose, values and mission
  • feeling as if they are progressing in their career
  • receiving high levels of feedback so they understand if and how they are making an impact on their company’s success.

But aren’t these desires something that all employees want? Instead of breaking it down to millennials vs. non-millennials, let’s just talk about how we can reward all employees differently so that they want to stay – not just for the long service award of a shiny watch or big bonus – but for the right reasons.

How can we keep employees in our corner by recognising and rewarding them at the right times? And how can we create a culture of continuous recognition where recognising and rewarding our people becomes second nature?

Using communications to recognise and reward employees

Typically we deal separately with our approach to employee communications and reward and recognition. But effective recognition needs to be continuous and genuine — a part of the natural flow of human interaction amongst your people. This fosters an authentic ownership of your culture and purpose as your employees are publicly recognising and reinforcing your company values.

So how can you do this? An integrated strategy combines the best of both worlds – a spotlight on recognition initiatives that’s timely, specific and meaningful with communication that’s social, inclusive and multi-directional. By shining the light on those that live your values and are connected to your organisation’s purpose and mission, recognition doesn’t become a “nice-to-have” moment, it becomes an everyday moment, where teams are celebrating wins together.

A recognition program should be timely, specific and meaningful. Let’s break that down:

  •  Timely. Link your communications to ways of recognising employees. Moments of recognition can occur right when news is announced. Hit a big sale or completed an office move that involved months of planning? Giving employees the opportunity to recognise those mentioned on the spot leads to a culture of continuous recognition.
  • Specific. Integrating communications with recognition allows people to give recognition in response to specific things they’ve heard about the individual.
  • Meaningful. You want recognition to feel genuine, not forced. Recognise achievement when employees frequent your communications hub to create a more natural flow of recognition that’s easy for employees to build on.

Recognition and communications should go hand in hand – the more you highlight moments of recognition in the very tools that your employees are using, the more opportunity your people will have to build appreciation. This means your communications should be:

  • Social. A static page doesn’t excite, and makes for dull employee communications. Bring them to life by providing more opportunities to interact, like with comment threads, reactions (everyone loves a good emoji!) and “likes”, which helps liven up any ordinary company update.
  • Inclusive. Communications, just like recognition, shouldn’t only come from the top down. Why should only a few people hold the reins to employee communications? Giving others an opportunity to share their news through peer-to-peer communication makes your organisation more transparent, and gives visibility to those that want the chance to share successes, innovation and gather feedback.
  • Multi-directional. If your communications are engaging and relevant to your audience, participation is much more likely. Offer a place where employees can question articles they’ve read or offer on-the-spot feedback to create a two-way conversation and lessen the gap among leadership, middle management and front-line employees.

By digitising your employee recognition program with communications tools, you can gain insight into successes (and misses) at your company with a recognition wall to show you who is giving and receiving recognition. Whether you choose to kick off your recognition initiatives with customised peer-to-peer eCards to further your employer brand and embed your company values, monetary awards for managers to recognise team members for a job well done or showcase employee recognition on a social wall for all to see, you can begin to create a culture of continuous recognition quickly and easily.

Integrating communications into your employee recognition strategy means you can begin to truly recognise the exemplary continuously. You can increase employee engagement, commitment, productivity and innovation. And if done correctly, with the right partner to help you on your engagement journey, you might just help today’s workforce stay long enough to receive that long service award.

Talk to an engagement consultant today to begin 2018 with an integrated approach to recognition and communications.

Reward Gateway are experts in engagement consulting and rewards benefits. Talk to a consultant today to begin 2018 with an integrated approach to recognition and communications.

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